Agenda May 17 2021-05-17T08:41:26+00:00

All times are listed in Eastern Time.

Monday, May 17

12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. | Meet the Sponsors — Pure Edge

1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. | Keynote Address by Dena Simmons, Ed.D.


Carol Paxton, Ph.D., Director, Center for the Promotion of Social and Emotional Learning (CPSEL), Camp Hill, Pennsylvania

Shileste Overton Morris, Ed.D., Director, Center for Schools and Communities (CSC), Camp Hill, Pennsylvania

Chi Kim, Chief Executive Officer, Pure Edge, Inc., Boston, Massachusetts

Self-Care, Healing and Equity-Responsive Practices When the World Feels Heavy

Dena Simmons, Ed.D., Founder, LiberatED, Greater New York City Area

We will explore self-care strategies as a way to cope with isolation, uncertainty and the collective traumas of COVID-19 and our country’s reckoning with race. We will reflect on what is causing our burnout as a way to tackle it with relevant emotion regulation and self-care strategies. As we plan for the start of a new year, we will discuss how best to meet the needs and demands of former and current students who expressed harm done at school or district, plans for creating systemic change, and anti-racist practices to ensure equity and facilitate healing in the midst of multiple pandemics.

2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. | Meet the Sponsors — Second Step

3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. | Concurrent Sessions

Both culturally responsive teaching and trauma-informed pedagogy contain effective teaching strategies focused on the success of the whole child; their impact is amplified when they are positioned as complementary practices in a classroom. Using brain science as the bridge to connect the groundbreaking work of Dr. Bruce Perry, author of “The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog” and Zaretta Hammond, author of “Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain,” we will explore how teachers can weave these philosophies together to achieve the classroom goals that matter to them. We will engage in resource examination, teaching video analysis, small group teaching rehearsals, and practical planning to create the most effective ways for participants in this session to apply the intersection of these practices in their daily classroom work. Participants will leave this session with a clear plan of action — anchored in student-based goals and designed with practices that integrate culturally responsive teaching and trauma-informed pedagogy — to take back to their schools.

Claire Miller, Educator, Conestoga High School, Reading, Pennsylvania

To address adequately the social emotional development and learning of young people, we must bring together literature and practice from racial equity and social emotional learning discourses (Aspen Institute, 2018). Adults in educational institutions that do not have strong social emotional competencies typically find racial equity work daunting or irrelevant, and tend to espouse ideologies centered in colorblindness, implicit bias and deficit-thinking (Fergus, 2017). If we want to build the social emotional skills of our young people and create equitable educational institutions, we must first work with adults to develop the social emotional skills and racial analysis needed to engage in discourse and action. There is increasing consensus that in order to engage in “difficult and uncomfortable” conversations around how systemic racism erodes opportunities for people of all racial backgrounds to experience positive developmental outcomes, we first require the right tools to build authentic relationships that can support this work.

This workshop will engage participants in replicable process activities that help school communities unpack and address conditions of racism. Activities include restorative conversations as a practice for listening deeply to invite authentic relationship and understanding; utilizing technology to reflect on perspectives and experiences related to racial equity; exploring intersectional affinity groups to deepen reflective conversation; and exploring how to disseminate these processes along with concrete outputs (e.g., belief statements, revised organizational materials) to inform internal (agency) and external (community partners) practices. Activities are designed to ignite discourse focused on problem identification and solution-seeking.

Sabrina Evans Ellis, Executive Director, Ramapo for Children, New York, New York

Come learn how the integration of neuroscience and game dynamics can train the brain to create more meaningful relationships. Emotional intelligence is at the core of social and emotional learning and emotional quotient — EQ — is caught not taught. It makes sense for teachers, administrators and parents to change their brain so they can change the conversations they are having. Awareness of personal emotions and the emotions of the people around you will develop resilience, empathy and elevate behavior.

Throughout this workshop, presenters will discuss the importance of increasing emotional vocabulary, asking permission before sharing emotions and practicing open questions. Participants will gain knowledge and techniques on how to express feelings and thoughts more accurately and develop a new level of self-awareness.

Deana Hsu, Appreciative Inquiry Consultant and High Performance Coach, Deana Hsu Consulting, San Jose, California

This session will explore a case study from spring 2019 at Palm Springs Unified School District and how using CASEL-aligned social emotional learning activities combined with mentorship is an effective way to engage middle school English learners. We will also learn by doing the very same activities the students did. The session includes time for action planning so participants leave with a plan in hand.

Julia Gabor, Founder, kid-grit, Redondo Beach, California

Mandy Gonzales, English Learner Programs Coordinator, Palm Springs Unified School District, Palm Springs, California

Newcomer students, those recently enrolled in a U.S. school, enter our schools with a wealth of knowledge, a desire to learn, to be children and to dream. Often, adults on campus are not aware of the fears and traumas many newcomer students carry with them into the classroom. This workshop will expand participants’ self and social awareness of how immigration policies affect immigrant students and their social emotional development. Participants will learn from the experience of former newcomer students through case studies, exploring their own implicit bias in the process. Additionally, participants will collaborate with other educators and leaders in the field to develop strategies for supporting immigrant students’ academic and social emotional development in the classroom, in community afterschool programs and at home. Our goal is to provide participants with strategies and knowledge for creating learning environments that feel safe, inclusive and academically rigorous for newcomer students.

Mariangely Solis Cervera, Constituency Director, Michelle Wu for Boston Campaign, Boston, Massachusetts

“Who am I?” is a question all adolescents wrestle with. Educators can play a major role in helping young people develop healthy identities. Young people with strong social and emotional learning skills — especially self-reflection, relationship-building and responsible decision-making — are better equipped to create a positive identity for themselves. At the same time, as young people build a positive self-identity, they reinforce their ability to use SEL skills effectively.

In this session, we will review theories of identity development, including the development of gender and racial identity. We will connect those theories to young people’s lived experiences by reading and discussing true stories written by youth in Youth Communication’s intensive writing program. We will examine the factors that help students create a sense of agency (“oneness”) and find a sense of belonging (“sameness”). We will discuss issues and theories surrounding positive identity development in relation to social and emotional learning, including how these important concepts interact.

This session is appropriate for those who work directly with youth and educational administrators. Participants will gain insights and techniques they can use to set up classrooms, schools and afterschool programs that help students develop a sense of self, purpose and goals, relationship skills and connection with others.

Tim Frederick, Senior Director of Education Programs, Youth Communication, New York, New York

Gess LeBlanc, Associate Professor of Developmental and Educational Psychology, Hunter College School of Education, New York, New York

A child will walk into a room and survey their learning environment to assess: “Do I belong here? Will my identity and my efforts be seen? Will my voice be heard? Will my contributions be noticed and appreciated?” The sense of safety and belonging that students have in a classroom or school may be directly related to how they perceive bias and stereotypes about aspects of their identities from others, including from their teachers, administrators and support staff. Educators must be aware of the impact that negative unconscious biases and stereotypes have on their work with students and each other. Unless we consistently acknowledge, reflect on and reject our own bias, prejudice and stereotypes, we will continue to create and maintain systemic and structural inequalities. In this workshop, participants will practice self and social awareness as they gain an understanding of how biases and stereotypes impact their own identities as well as the students with whom they work. Educators will learn about Anti-Bias Education (ABE) as a tool to create belonging and equity for children with marginalized identities and to apply all the SEL competencies to their work with children. Participants will also learn and practice de-biasing techniques.

Rebecca Slaby, Executive Director, AMAZEworks, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Melissa Andersen, Curriculum and Instruction Director, AMAZEworks, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Many students easily apply the cognitive skills necessary to be successful academically, behaviorally and socially emotionally. However, children who struggle with learning, need to be taught explicitly how to acquire access and apply information with confidence. When students are unable to engage in strategic learning, they risk believing that assignments and situations are too challenging to attempt or to overcome. Their perception can influence their belief system to the degree that it becomes their reality and delays their progress. Students’ performance and self-concept benefit from identifying that they can manage their own perceptions; improve their academic, behavioral and social emotional skills by learning to use visualization as a strategy to prepare for successful outcomes; and pair perception and visualization with positive self-talk.

Participants will learn to identify, model and teach the cognitive skills of managing one’s own perception, which includes developing visualization skills and self-talk as strategic interventions to overcome challenging tasks and situations. When used by students, these skills become life-long strategies that can be applied in college and throughout adulthood.

Lisa Narvara, President and Founder, Child Behavior Consulting, New York, New York

Most educators today agree that social and emotional competencies are important. They may even be explicitly teaching these skills in the classroom through a social emotional learning program. But just as we would not expect a child to learn to read fluently with only 30 minutes of explicit reading instruction once a week, we cannot expect SEL competencies to flourish unless they are reinforced each day regardless of the academic subject being taught. In this interactive workshop, participants will learn practical steps to embed SEL into an academic lesson. From kindergarten to AP Geometry, social emotional competencies can be effectively integrated. Be prepared to learn new techniques that enhance existing lessons and truly support the development of SEL skills.

Lorea Martinez, Author and SEL Consultant, HEART in Mind, San Carlos, California

4:30 p.m. – 5:45 p.m. | Plenary Session


Carol Paxton, Ph.D., Director, Center for the Promotion of Social and Emotional Learning (CPSEL), Camp Hill, Pennsylvania

Focus on the Foundations of SEL: The Nuts, Bolts and Necessities for 2021 and Beyond

Ed Dunkelblau, Ph.D., Director of the Institute for Emotionally Intelligent Learning, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria, Virginia

What are the basics of SEL that we must know? What makes for a sustainable program? What are the impacts of recent events on our SEL programming? Whether you are new to the SEL world or looking for updated information, the presenter will take a pragmatic focus on implementing the basics of SEL programming, including the issues of who, how and what that need to be addressed post-COVID.